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A Universal Translator for Surgeons | Steven Schwaitzberg


Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg is Chief of Surgery at The Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching facility, where he specializes in minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery—a profession that is helping to improve the quality of life for millions of people.

The World Health Organization suggests that 11% of the global health burden is treatable with surgery. But, about 2 billion people worldwide have no access to surgical care. The fix? We need more surgeons in every part of the world. So, where do we find these medical masterminds?

“Surgeons are not born. Surgeons are not made, either,” Schwaitzberg explains. “Surgeons are trained, one step at a time.”

It’s a difficult process to teach. It’s even more difficult to teach someone in Asia, who speaks a different language. In considering this barrier, Schwaitzberg was inspired by a Canadian surgeon who successfully taught fundamental surgical skills to an English-speaking African surgeon via video conference. Ready to make video instruction a reality for surgeons of all languages, Schwaitzberg set out to develop the ultimate teaching tool—a universal translator.

“Imagine giving a lecture and being able to talk to people in their own native language, simultaneously…seamlessly, accurately, and in a cost-effective fashion using technology,” he urges.

In this heartening talk, Schwaitzberg will take you through the process of weaving together video and translation technologies, in an effort to make our world a smaller, and healthier, place. And that’s something we can all feel good about.